tv Hardball Weekend MSNBC August 18, 2013 7:00am-7:30am EDT
eve of destruction. let's play "hardball." good evening i'm michael smer conish in for chris matthews. leading off tonight hope or hopeless? despite a politic litany of challenges facing republicans, party leaders put on a brave face at this week's summer meetings in boston. their mission is clear rally the party around the theme that worked well for democrats in 2008. that would be hope.
>> what we have to do in a sense be a party of optimism and a party of hope. part of what we have to do in the era of obama's disaster we have to get by being anti-obama and convince people you can have hope in america. that we can have a better future. nationally is what the party >> hope for republicans nationally is what the party clings to because at the moment that's all they got. that much is evident if you read politico this morning which reported that they see the party on a national level as veering towards destruction. "it's almost impossible to find an establishment republican in town who is not down right morose about the 2013 that has been and is about to be. they see this year as a disaster-in-the-making even if most elected republicans don't know it or admit it. politico said threats of government shutdown and default and republicans are out. republicans have alienated an array of voting blocks. they promised to court after the 2012 elections, hispanics,
blacks, gays and women. thanks to hyper partisan districts republicans have less to fear locally especially when it comes to their control of the house. nationally, however, it's a different story. jonathan allen is the senior washington correspondent with politico. sam stein is an msnbc contributor with "huffington post." jonathan, that piece created quite a buzz. as i read it i said, what's on the verge of the extinction is the establishment of the republican party. >> yes, they reported the morose mood among the establishment in washington. you have social issues set in which the republican party has essentially alienated a lot of voters, hispanic voters, black voters, female voters. on the basic issues of governance you have a party
that's threatening to shut down the government so it can defund obamacare, the establishment doesn't like that, but a lot of voices of the party want to see that. or shutting down the government or let the nation default on its debt. any of those outcomes is poor. >> this might not be evident in 2014 because all politics are local and in those hyper partisan districts for rs and ds republicans could have a very good year and give them a false since of bravado. >> those are the duelling tensions inside the republican party, right? you have a bunch of house republicans tuned to the political whims in their own districts and those whims are different than what the republican party needs on the national level. what might be a good strategy for 2014 status quo strategy could blow up. >> chris christie had some
strong words for his republican colleagues yesterday. in direct reference to bobby jind jindal, who called the party stupid, christie said i'm not going to come and call you the stupid party. the election is over and we need to move on. then he added, i'm in this business to win. i don't know why you're in it. i'm in it to win. for our ideas to matter, we have to win. because if we don't win, we don't govern. and if we don't govern all we do is shout into the wind. he is right. the sole purpose of political parties is to deliver election vick together, not be ideology vessels. >> he's saying go have an argument. have a debate. let's put together a winning coalition to put republicans back in power so they can implement some of the policies they want to. this is an echo of what bill clinton was saying to the democrats in the early 1990s, after a couple of decades of
liberal excess. it's something that was successful for him. if you're chris christie, this is your only option, to make the argument that you're best suited to win. and that it's about winning, not ideology. of course, chris christie is not where the rest of the republican party is ideologically. >> i think he's trying to define the race already in these terms. the question is that a message that will get outside of that room of national committee people because his chief impediment to capturing the gop nomination is the nature of the primary process. we know the type of candidates being nominated these days. >> the issue is more complex than chris christie gives credit for. in many respects ideologically the republican party has done. they turned over the debate of how to stimulate the economy in 2009 and 2010 to what the proper realm of deficit reduction would be. in 2011 there was a broad plan that was presented to them that they could have said yes to. what chris christie misses is in
many respects the conversation has changed. because of the 2010 elections. the republican party is not willing to claim victory. >> let me give you an illustration of what i'm talking about. it's from the garden state. there's a lack of quality control in the republican party when it comes to candidates. just look at new jersey, a state that republicans have eyed for a long time. this is the candidate that primary voters have chosen to run against cory booker in the state's special election for senate. his name is steve lona gichlt n. here's what he stands for. he opposes marriage equality. he's against gun control. he's anti-abortion. even in cases of rape and incest. he wants to dismantle the irs. he's a hard liner on immigration and wants to make english the official language. and he rejects climate change. matter of fact, a recent buzz feed of lonegan summarized it like this. he called social security a ponzi scheme.
denounces spanish advertisement. as racial profile marketing. and describes cory booker his pony in the new jersey senate election as a socialist who just can't wait to pull the race card. many people may agree with those positions but they are unlikely to get you elected in very blue new jersey. how can the republican party take control of this primary process and stop those from blowing otherwise respectable opportunities? >> that photo wasn't subtle, as you pointed out, surrounded by guns. secondly, this is the question now for people working on the senate race which is how do you weigh in on these primaries in a way that gets you electable candidates. the irony is the more the national party weighs in to push more electable candidates, the more it will be used against them.
tea party candidates will say people in washington are coming down choose your candidates. we just run a pure conservative we'll win. that doesn't always work. there's an argument to be made that the republican party could have very close if not a majority in the senate right now had they just, you know, ran more electable candidates. >> thank you, sam stein. thank you, jonathan allen. coming up, the republican national committee votes nbc and cnn out of the 2016 primary debate because of their hillary clinton projects. it's promising to do something that it does anyway. so what's the point? also we all saw the picture this week of the rodeo clown with an obama mask. disrespectful, racist? not according to a lot of people on the right who say democrats can't take a jobe. and there's certainly a lot of bob filner accusers. and we have the latest, a grandmother who is here to tell us what happened between her and the mayor.
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it's time that we do what's right for our party and our candidates and by the way, it's the right thing to do for our voters. they're not going to get a real debate of substance if it's run by a network who wants to help out hillary clinton. we're done putting up with this nonsense. there are plenty of other news outlets. we'll still reach voters. maybe more voters but cnn and nbc anchors will just have to watch on their competitors' networks. >> welcome back to "hardball." that was rnc chair reince priebus earlier today at the rnc's summer meeting in boston,
delivering a spirited indictment on the liberal bias he says the media shows his republican donors and friends. now, today the republican national committee unanimously passed a resolution preventing itself from partnering with nbc or cnn for debates if the networks move forward with planned hillary clinton productions ahead of what they say is a likely 2016 clinton presidential run. but is this a smart move by priebus and the rnc? after all, hardly none of the tough questions in 2012 came from cnn or nbc and beyond that, many of the candidates' worst performances like rick perry and his oops moment were self-inflicted wounds. it would be a stretch to blame cnbc's john harwood for having asked that question. joining me is abby huntsman, co-host of the cycle on msnbc, and dnc communications director mo elleithee. thank you both for being here. according to the rnc's 2012 autopsy report, which conducted a thorough review of the party's performance and problems from
gop insiders, the report said this. the republican party needs to stop talking to itself. we've become expert in how to provide ideological reinforcement to like-minded people but devastatingly, we've lost the ability to be persuasive with or welcoming to those who do not agree with us on every issue. mo, i've got to believe you would love it if the debates in 2016 featured limbaugh, beck and hannity as the sole interrogators. >> look, this is -- i don't understand what they're doing strategically, but man am i glad they're doing it. this is a party that has pledged and said that it needs to expand its reach. but if you look at every single group that they -- that they lost so badly with in 2012, they keep poking them in the eye. and i think what's really going
on here -- i'm not inside reince priebus's head, but i think what's going on here is two things. one, this is great for their, i think, short-term fund-raising. there's a few things that conservative activists like more than to beat up on the liberal media. so this is going to be great for their program. >> plays well for the base. >> but it also limits debates. and by putting them on with rush limbaugh and sean hannity as the hosts, i actually think what they're doing is creating more opportunity for them to highlight some of the more fringe positions of the party, which is not really what they ought to be doing. >> i thought that the autopsy made a lot of sense and one of the things, i'm paraphrasing, one of the things in the autopsy said we need to get out of the echo chamber. i remember, and i've said this before, that on wednesday morning after the election there were folks that were just mystified by how obama had won because they were solely dependent on drudge, talk radio and fox news.
it seems like in contrast to the autopsy finding from the rnc, they're going right back into that direction. >> that's the answer. let's get rush and sean hannity to moderate debates. in all honesty, i kind of want that to happen. i think for many republicans out there that want the party to change, to move forward in a different direction, it has to hit rock bottom first. and maybe having sean hannity and rush limbaugh host a debate, we would actually hit rock bottom and we would be able to move forward. but look, maybe mo would know this. the rnc doesn't actually have the authority to approve or to fund the debates. so they can say that all they want. they do have -- they can encourage candidates, obviously, to boycott the debates, which would be effective. but i keep saying, look, if it is hillary clinton's miniseries, that is really going to put her over the edge in 2016, we really have no business being in the race to begin with. you think they have their annual summer meeting. how much time have they wasted talking about this when we have bigger fish to fry. why are we not focusing, as you
were saying, on our message. why don't we have the courage to talk about things that we need to do to move forward? as chris christie said yesterday. >> let me give everyone a reminder, last cycle, republican candidates faced tough questions from moderators of all networks. here's one exchange between mitt romney and abc's george stephanopoulos. >> governor romney, do you believe that states have the right to ban contraception, or is that trumped by a constitutional right to privacy? >> george, this is an unusual topic that you raise. >> you went to harvard law school you know very well. >> has the supreme court decided that states do not have the right to the provide contraception? >> yes, they have, 1965, griswold v. connecticut. you've given two answers to the question. do you believe the supreme court should overturn it or not? >> do i believe the supreme court should -- >> sometimes the wounds were self-inflicted. >> and i will tell you, it's three agencies of government
when i get there that are gone. commerce, education, and the -- what's the third one there? let's see. >> five. >> so commerce, education and the -- >> epa? >> epa. there you go. >> let's talk -- let's talk -- >> seriously? is epa the one you were talking about? >> no, sir. no, sir. we were talking about the agencies of government. epa needs to be rebuilt. there is no doubt about that. >> but you can't name the third one? >> the third agency of government i would do away with the education, the -- commerce, and let's see. i can't. the third one, i can't. sorry. oops. >> abby, for reasons i think are obvious, you paid particularly close attention to all those debates back in that cycle. what i'm thinking is some of the high points for candidates came when they faced tough questions.
i remember specifically when john king at the outset of one particular debate hammered newt gingrich and gingrich had a great response that brought the house down. it was about domestic issues. what would have happened to gingrich at that moment in the campaign had king not provided him that opportunity? >> i also think what would have happened to rick perry had that moment not happened. my stomach still cringes. >> what would have happened to us as voters? >> exactly. you know what? my stomach still cringes when i watch some of those clips. i just remember going to those debates with my dad. as you know, there was not a lot of substance at those debates. it was really a battle between who could be the most conservative, who could throw out the most red meat. i remember my dad looking at me always on the end with his hands up like i don't know what to do. here is a guy that just left as ambassador to china. you get 30 seconds to talk about something substantial. so i understand reince priebus's point. let's have more control over the
debates and less of those debates that really only makes us look bad. but there is a different way to go about that. let's not use hillary clinton as our way to fight this battle. >> and mo, you paid close attention as well, that some of the worst moments for the gop in that debate cycle came from audience reaction. and none of what we're addressing right now reins in that bad behavior. i'm making specific reference to when there was a soldier who was booed for having been gay and posing a question. >> yeah, and i got to believe that having the hannitys and limbaughs of the world isn't going to do anything to stem that. i mean, look, we all know what the republicans need to do. i hope they don't do it, but we all know what they need to do, they need to expand outreach and try to speak to more people and stop being so hostile. they've got policies and agenda that are openly hostile to huge segments of the population. >> thank you. up next the cia acknowledges a secret they kept for decades about area 51 and ufos. a programming note you can listen to my radio program 9:00 a.m. eastern. this is "hardball," the place for politics. [ metal rattling ]
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back to "hardball." time for the sideshow." the secret is out. a newly declassified document on the cia's history has publicly revealed the story behind the infamous nevada test site known as area 51. no, it doesn't mention roswell or the existence of extraterrestrial life but does confirm the location has been used since the 1950s to test and develop the military's most discreet aerial hardware, including the u-2 spy plane and the a-12 oxcart. next up, the obama administration has been installing solar panels on the roof of the white house this week, making good on a 2010 promise to make the building more energy independent. this marks the second time that the white house has been retrofit with the energy saving devices. the first was 34 years ago when
under then president jimmy carter who hoped to inspire an alternative energy revolution during the oil embargo of the '70s. his message, however, fell upon deaf ears, and the solar panels were removed just seven years later by the reagan administration in 1986. here was president carter describing his reaction to that from the documentary "a road not taken." >> i was disappointed, somewhat angry when i saw that president reagan had taken this symbolic step of retreating from the commitment to renewable energy. >> but the story didn't end there. the film follows those very solar panels, 32 in all, after they were salvaged by unity college in maine where they helped power the school cafeteria. and when they reached the end of their useful life there, some of them went on a road trip with the film makers to atlanta. the filmmakers even used them to
heat the water in their own makeshift bathtub before donating them to the carter presidential library. who knew? and finally, jennifer garner has hinted to "allure" magazine that her husband, ben affleck, may be interested in seeking elective office. the "argo" star is no stranger to politics. he campaigned for john kerry back in 2004. but he's always been coy when it comes to his own political ambitions. listen to what affleck had to say about that in 2004 at the democratic national convention. >> as a person, i'm much more interested in what an actor has to say about something substantial and important than who they're dating or what clothes they're wearing or some other asinine, insignificant aspect of their life. >> have you ever thought of crossing the line yourself? >> i'd like to -- i'd like your job, frankly. so i'm waiting for you to move on. >> thank you very much, ben. now i'll be nice to you. >> sorry, ben, i don't think anybody's going to replace chris anytime soon.
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